What Is a QR Code in an e-Invoice?

  • Sayak Bhanja
  • 11-Jun-2021

What is a QR code and IRN? Do you need them on all GST invoices? How do you know if a QR code is correct? This article answers these questions and helps you understand what a QR code is and why it is important.


What Is a QR Code in an e-Invoice?

Quick Response or QR code is a type of barcode that can be used to store and present information when it is scanned. An important advantage of a QR code over a traditional barcode is that a QR code can be scanned easily and quickly by a number of digital devices, including most of the Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

Why Do e-Invoices under GST Require a QR Code?

Including a QR code on a GST e-Invoice provides the following benefits to businesses:

Following are the benefits of QR Code in GST e-invoicing

  • e-Invoice data can be captured quickly by scanning the QR code - this makes processing of invoices much faster.
  • Once an e-Invoice is generated by the GST e-Invoicing portal, a supplier can generate a PDF of the invoice just by scanning the QR code - this can be done as many times as required.

A QR code on a GST e-Invoice includes the following information:

  • GSTIN of the supplier
  • GSTIN of the recipient (name of the recipient for B2C invoices)
  • Invoice number given by the supplier (number generated by the accounting or billing system)
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice value
  • Number of line items
  • HSN code of the main item
  • Unique Invoice Reference Number (generated by the e-Invoicing portal)
  • Payment reference link (for B2C invoices)

QR codes are required in the following documents:

  • B2B e-Invoices, debit notes and credit notes
  • Tax invoices issued for exports
  • Tax invoices issued for supplies under Reverse Charge Mechanism
  • B2C invoices where the aggregate turnover of a supplier in a preceding financial year, starting 2017-18, exceeds ₹500 Crore

How Can You Generate a QR Code for e-Invoices?

For B2B invoices, QR code is generated by the e-Invoicing portal after an Invoice Reference Number or IRN is successfully generated. For B2C invoices, you will need to generate your own 'dynamic' QR code containing the above-mentioned information. You can approach your bank to enable UPI QR codes for your B2C e-Invoices. There are also QR code generation software applications available online.

The QR code on a B2C invoice should allow digital payment by a customer upon scanning the code as it includes a link to facilitate the payment. The advantage of using a dynamic QR code is that even if the payee details (e.g. UPI account) changes, the QR code need not be regenerated. This is also true for adding any additional information that can be included in a dynamic QR code. A dynamic QR code is also easier to scan using smartphones.

All taxpayers who have an annual turnover of more than ₹500 Crore in any preceding financial year (starting from 2017-18) are compulsorily required to generate QR codes on their B2C invoices from 1st July 2021 (as notified in March 2021).


How Can You Verify a QR Code on e-Invoices You Have Received?

  • Visit the e-Invoicing portal to verify the QR code.
  • Select the operating system of your phone (Android or iOS) and enter the mobile number you intend to use to scan the QR code.
  • Enter the OTP received on your mobile number and download the app on your phone.
  • You can then use this app to scan QR codes on invoices received by you to verify their authenticity.

What Should You Do Next?

  • Ensure your accounting/billing system captures all the information required for generating e-Invoices.
  • Download the QR code verification app.
  • If you have B2C invoices for which you need to generate QR codes, ensure you have the right software to do so. There are many software products in the market that can help you easily generate invoices under the e-Invoicing system. TCS iON e-Invoicing solution is one such product that is 100% secure, easy to use, and gives you multiple options for invoice generation while maintaining end-to-end e-Invoicing compliance.

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